Are air-conditioned rooms more prone to disease transmission?
People working in buildings with air conditioning systems report higher symptoms like mucosal irritation, headache, fatigue etc. than people occupying buildings with natural ventilation. These unrelated symptoms are often referred to as sick building syndrome. While there is not a lot of conclusive research in the public domain but some studies have shown that air conditioning may cause increased transmission of diseases in the following manner:
- Air conditioning leads to an increased level of moisture increasing the chances of microbial contamination.
- Cooling coils and drip pans: parts of the air conditioning system that remain constantly moist are breeding grounds for microbes that may cause many respiratory diseases.
- Even in the case of COVID-19 the studies have shown that while home air conditioners may not have a significant effect on transmission centrally air conditioned spaces can lead to an increase in the transmission rates. Better ventilated spaces are suggested to decrease rates of transmission.
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